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Q&A:
Should we be concerned if our 4-month-old won't fall asleep without being swaddled?

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I really understand your frustration with your 4-month-old not tolerating not being swaddled, resulting in her being awake all night. It must be hard on you and your baby to not get much sleep at night. There are at least two things to consider in dealing with this issue. The first relates to the theory of why swaddling helps children go to sleep. It is thought that swaddling replicates the close quarters of the womb and reduces the simulation of both environment and body movement. The challenge you face is not so much "breaking" of her being swaddled but weaning her from it. I would suggest that you gradually reduce the tightness of the swaddling so that the change is not abrupt.

Answer


I really understand your frustration with your 4-month-old not tolerating not being swaddled, resulting in her being awake all night. It must be hard on you and your baby to not get much sleep at night. There are at least two things to consider in dealing with this issue. The first relates to the theory of why swaddling helps children go to sleep. It is thought that swaddling replicates the close quarters of the womb and reduces the simulation of both environment and body movement. The challenge you face is not so much "breaking" of her being swaddled but weaning her from it. I would suggest that you gradually reduce the tightness of the swaddling so that the change is not abrupt.

The other factor that may be contributing to the problem is that it is common for young infants to have a normal body reflex, a total body or myoclonic "jerk," that happens as they fall off to sleep. As a matter of fact, there are a fair number of older children and adults who will also have this reflex (though less pronounced) when they are falling asleep. The good news is that as babies get older, this reflex tends to diminish. This, in addition to the gradual un-swaddling suggested, may mean that you will have fewer sleepless nights in the near future.

 
 
 
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